Using EAP benefits to help your grieving employees

Employees who have experienced a great loss know that the grieving process lasts much longer than the average bereavement leave provided by most employers. The effects of grief are far reaching and long lasting. They manifest themselves in various ways throughout the different areas of a person’s life, including their work.

Employers, HR professionals, and co-workers should not ignore their colleague’s grief. Instead, it’s important for them to find appropriate ways of supporting bereaved employees, and EAP providers can be a great resource for everyone involved in this process.

Grief Counseling

Seeking help from a grief counselor is something bereaved employees often consider. However, they may not always think to check with their EAP provider first. In many cases, employee assistance programs offer counseling services to help employees deal with grief and loss. Managers and HR professionals are encouraged to make sure bereaved employees are aware of the grief counseling services available to them through the company’s EAP benefits.

Conduct Employee Workshops

EAP providers can also assist companies in creating a more supportive work environment for bereaved employees by conducting educational workshops. The main purpose of these sessions is to help employees better understand how they can support a co-worker dealing with grief. Colleagues attending bereavement workshops can learn about the different aspects of grief in a safe, judgement-free environment, while gaining a better understanding of what to say and what not to say to a grieving co-worker.

Bereavement workshops can be offered on-site or off-site depending on the employer’s arrangement with their EAP provider.

Helping Managers Engage with the Grieving Process

While colleagues may be more likely to turn to one another for support in times of grief, it is just as important for managers and HR professionals to understand how they can assist a bereaved employee. EAP providers can help train managers to recognize the signs that an employee is struggling with grief. EAPs can also help an organization’s HR team establish bereavement policies or update existing ones.

Individuals currently dealing with grief and loss should check with their EAP provider to find out what services are available to them. Mazzitti and Sullivan EAP members can view their employee benefits by logging in here or by contacting us anytime, 24/7.